A Gift from the Common Core Aligned Writing Gods!
Think Cerca is really a gift! It is an amazing website that seems to really understand the intricacies of teaching and provide teachers with an awesome level of support need to navigate the teaching waters. Cerca is an acronym for Claim, Evidence, Reason, Counterargument, Audience. While the acronym may seem fairly unimportant, as a teacher, it provides me with the knowledge that the focus of the Common Core shift is at the root of the ThinkCerca instructional focus. ThinkCerca provides students with challenging questions to consider and analyze through engaging texts. I LOVE that students and I are both able to track their mastery. This feature, I feel, provides students with an autonomy that promotes ownership of their learning. I also appreciate that I may assign tasks/readings to students, regardless of it they are present or not. This feature has truly enabled me to combat the attendance issues that many of my students in this course present.
My only critique of Think Cerca is the fact that the paid subscription offers so much more to students and teachers. I mostly wish that the ability to create ThinkCerca content was a free feature.
How I Use It
I used Think Cerca in a credit recovery course for students who did not pass grade 9 English Language Arts during the previous school year. Students did not pass for varying reasons: skill deficits, poor attendance, lack of motivation, etc. Initially, I used ThinkCerca as a diagnostic tool to gather data on my students' mastery of the ELA 9-10 Common Core Standards. This allowed me to create homogeneous learning groups for individualized instruction and provide students with support tailored to their needs. Heterogeneously, all students utilized the ThinkCerca Starter, consisting of 8 lessons and following sessions, I used the Insights report to analyze student data and, subsequently, adjust learning groups. Then, I use Think Cerca to assign tiered assessments to students and use the data reported to from the site to track student mastery.